When we’re waiting for something to happen, there are several things going on:
We want to know when things are going to take place.
We want to know where things are going to take place.
We want to know how things are going to take place.
We want to know if there is something we can do to make things move faster.
After all of the above happens, then we usually go back to the first thing on the list: We want to know when things are going to take place. Sometimes when we are in the waiting process, there are tangible things that we can do, but we find ourselves just sitting back and saying, ” Well, I’m just waiting on God.” There are other times when there isn’t a thing that we can do, except pray and know that God is in control, he loves us, and knows what’s best for us. Rushing also involves several things going on:
We can’t focus.
We react instead of respond.
We do things out of character.
We forget about involving God in the matter.
We make things even worse.
We suffer severe consequences.
God promised Abraham at a very old age that he would have a son. When Abraham thought that this son would come from one of his servants, God reassured him that this is not what was going to happen:
Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This one will not be your heir, but one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” And the LORD took him outside and said, “Now look to the heavens and count the stars, if you are able .” Then He declared, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:4-6, Berean Study Bible
After waiting for so long, Abraham and Sarah, his wife, went from the waiting stage to the rushing stage. Sarah decided to take things into her own hands, and have her handmaid to sleep with Abraham to have God’s promise come quicker:
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Genesis 16: 1-4, NIV
I wish at this point there was some good news to tell, but there isn’t. Things went from bad to worse. Hagar got a little too close for comfort, and Sarah began despising Hagar for her pregnancy. Not only did she despise Hagar, but she blamed Abraham for the plan that she came up with on her own:
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
Genesis 16: 4-5, NIV
God was very merciful to Abraham and Sarah, even in the midst of this mess. Abraham and Sarah did eventually given birth to a son Isaac in their old age, but they still had to bear more consequences for their actions:
Sarah allowed herself to step out of character, and treated Hagar contemptuously.
Isaac, their son, was taunted by his older brother Ishmael.
Hagar and Ishmael were eventually banished from their home because of all the commotion and Sarah’s wonderful plan.
Before we look at Sarah, and shake our heads, we often do the same thing. For some reason, we just can’t wait. When I was eight years old, I wanted to participate in a race that was held every year during the summer camp program that they held in the projects.
The exciting part about it is that we got a chance to ride the school bus to 55th and Cottage Grove, and race on the track there. All the kids from the projects in my area were going to be there. Three weeks before the race, my mother bought me some new gym shoes. On the morning of the race, right before my mother left to go to work, I was so excited, that I decided to try the gym shoes on again. To my surprise, they didn’t fit. They were so tight, that I was in excruciating pain.
My mother told me that she would have to take the shoes back, and that I would have to race next time, and that there was no point in me going since I only had sandals to wear. Next time meant next year. I wasn’t going to wait till next year.
As soon as all the kids got on the school bus, I hopped myself on too. My mother was gone to work, and I figured I’d be fine racing in sandals. When we got there, they grouped all of the kids according to age. The announcer called out. “Get on your mark. Get ready. Get set. Go!” I took off running like crazy in my sandals. I didn’t get far before I fell and injured myself. My knees were cut open and bleeding. My arms and hands were bleeding. the inside of my wrist was cut and bleeding, since when I fell, I used my hands to protect myself. My older cousin came over and walked me off the track as I was crying and humiliated.
This story of my race wasn’t so triumphant at all. I disobeyed my mom. I hurt myself. I suffered a permanent scar on the inside of my wrist as a reminder today of the sacrifice that I made. Praise God for his mercy and grace, and the redemption that he has for every one of our lives!
We praise you for who you are. We ask that you would help us to consult you in the waiting, and to pray like never before for endurance and perseverance. We know that your plan for our lives is the best plan. You are God alone, and you don’t need our help for you to give us what you have already promised us.
In your name we pray,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Hebrews 12: 1, NLT